Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel Says She Had An ‘Identity Crisis’ For Being Filipino-American
MISS UNIVERSE 2022 – Fashion designer, model, and beauty queen R’Bonney Gabriel said there was a time when she had an “identity crisis” for being Fil-Am.
84 ladies from all over the world competed for the title of Miss Universe 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana last January 14, 2023. R’Bonney Gabriel became the first Fil-Am to be crowned Miss Universe.
The 28-year-old beauty queen has a Filipino father and an American mother. R’Bonney’s father, Remigio Bonzon Gabriel, was born in the Philippines and moved to Washington when he was 25 years old; her mother, Dana Walker, is from Texas. R’Bonney said she has always been proud of her multiracial heritage.
R’Bonney Gabriel thanked her Filipino fans after being crowned Miss Universe 2022. She mentioned the wonderful characteristics of Filipinos and stated that she is proud to be half-Filipina.
The fashion designer said in an interview with Thai network JKN18 that ensaymada is her “favorite Filipino dish.” During one of her press interviews in New York, she got to satiate her appetite with a surprise ensaymada feast. It was prepared by Kapamilya reporter Dyan Castillejo and her team.
READ ALSO: R’Bonney Gabriel talks about her reaction during the Miss Universe announcement
R’Bonney Gabriel recently admitted that while she is proud of her Filipino heritage, she once had an “identity crisis” as a Filipino-American. She revealed on the Updated with Nelson Canlas podcast that despite growing up immersed in both Filipino and American traditions and culture, she still struggled to identify with her Filipino roots.
She went on to say that her inability to speak much Tagalog has always been a family joke. They were, however, always on the lookout for opportunities to teach her new skills.
“Like, how to eat or foods to try even. So, I mean, my family is always giving me tough love but they’re so funny as well. And at this time they’re extremely happy for me,” she said.
However, R’Bonney Gabriel revealed that she had several Filipino quirks that surprised some of her American friends. One of these is her fondness for ensaymada and mamon.
“I don’t eat meat, so I [eat] bakery sweets. So, I love to introduce people to mamon or ensaymada and I’m actually eating a lot of ensaymada,” said R’Bonney.
She also said that she grew up sweeping the floor with a Filipino broom. She has even recommended it to friends as a better way to sweep the floor than the ones available in the United States.
The new Miss Universe 2022 also mentioned how she surprised people by picking up items on the floor with her foot, saying that she “never really realized that that was something different until I did that around my friends that weren’t Filipino.”
“They were like what did you just do? And to me it was so natural to pick up something with my feet,” R’Bonney added.
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READ ALSO: Anne Jakrajutatip Says R’Bonney Gabriel Deserves Miss Universe Crown, Here’s Why
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